THE Duke of Edinburgh paid his first visit to the Royal Marines School of Music today to mark the elite training site’s 20th anniversary in Portsmouth.
Prince Philip, Captain General of the Royal Marines, was given a tour of the site and spoke to trainee musicians and instructors before viewing the band service’s memorial room.
The royal rounded off his visit by unveiling a plaque to commemorate the anniversary of the school moving to Portsmouth Naval Base from Deal in Kent.
The Duke’s visit coincided with the 352nd birthday of the Corps of Royal Marine.
Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace, principal director of music of the Royal Marines Band Service, said: ‘It has been a tremendous honour and privilege for the Royal Marines School of Music to host the Duke of Edinburgh, our Captain General.
‘It’s immensely significant because it’s 20 years to the day since the Royal Marines School of Music was opened by his son Prince Edward.
‘This is the first time the Duke has been able to visit us here in Portsmouth.
’It provided a terrific opportunity for our trainees to speak to His Royal Highness and for them to appreciate how military music has played an important role in his life and the esteem in which he holds the Royal Marines Band Service.’
Musician Harry Yarnell, 19, who plays clarinet and viola, said: ‘It was an unforgettable experience and a privilege to meet the duke today.
‘He was interested to know what led me to choosing a career in the Royal Marines Band Service, the training process at the School, how we develop as musicians, and what the future holds.’
Elsie Chadd, 24, who is almost at the end of her training, said: ‘It was my first time meeting a royal. It’s a huge honour.’
The school provides training for all musicians and buglers in the band service.
Trainees have to be aged at least 16 and start studies after 15 weeks military training.
Training for musicians is two years and eight months, and two years for buglers.